Woman Battling Breast Cancer at 39 Has Just One Plea

Health Check 8

woman breast examinationWhile there are definitely certain risk factors for breast cancer, it seems like the disease doesn't really discriminate. While younger diagnoses are more rare, they definitely occur. Take Keisha Scott, a woman from Washington, D.C., who was diagnosed at age 39 and underwent a double mastectomy last month.

When she was 35, her gynecologist referred her for a baseline mammogram screening. But she had been too afraid to get screened, having always heard that it was a painful procedure. Fast forward four years later, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Jennifer Aniston-Demi Moore-Alicia Keys Lifetime breast cancer film Five aired, and Giuliana Rancic was publicly discussing her battle with the disease. Keisha decided she had to make her appointment to get screened.

After being called back for a second screening and biopsy, her doctor cut to the chase, delivering the news: "I’m sorry, my dear, you have breast cancer.”

Keisha admits that since her diagnosis, she's had good days, weary days, angry days, and most of all, unsure days. But one thing has remained consistent: Her thought that had she gotten screened when she was 35 that her outcome may have been different. As a result, she is currently imploring women to get screened and talk to their doctors about early detection options.

As much as we hear about breast cancer in the media and as many Octobers that go by filled with pink ribbons and walks to raise money and awareness, sometimes it just doesn't click that we all -- regardless of age or family history -- should be aware of our breast health and taking preemptive steps to prevent a diagnosis like Keisha's. We can't let fear or indifference prevent us from beginning dialogues with our doctors. After all, as we can see from Keisha's story, it's communication and action that will ultimately save our lives.

How early do you plan to or did you begin getting screened?


breasts, cancer


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KenneMaw KenneMaw

I would love for ALL women to band together to denounce how painful mammagrams are.   These stupid stories scare so many women and prevent them from getting an exam, which is ridiculous.  Most mammagrams take less than 5-10 minutes and yes there is a bit of discomfort, but it isn't traumatic.    Women truly are the stronger sex and we need to act like it!

cocob... cocobeannns

I've had also had a mammogram at 24. It was not painful. There really wasn't even much discomfort.

sunny... sunnytxmom

Ok. I'm gonna call and make an appointment tomorrow.

nonmember avatar Lena

I had my first mammogram at 34 to get a baseline. All was well. Had another at 39 and was diagnosed with DCIS and ended up with a partial mastectomy after two lumpectomy surgeries. Two yrs later, was diagnosed again with invasive cancer on same breast. Opted to do a double mastectomy at that point. No breast cancer in family. Get your mammograms ladies, whether or not their is any family history. Cancer does not discriminate!

Lisa Lee

I found my lump last year at age 39, 5 months before my 40th birthday when I was to have a baseline. The Mammogram was a piece of cake. What followed was hard. I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I have no history in my family and the geneticist reveled that I had no damage chromosomes.. I was a "fluke" they said... I would have never found it if I had not screened myself first, and then pushed to move forward, regardless of my age, uncertainty, and recommendation on guidelines. We are responsible for our own health care and for being our own advocates. Scary but true. Be empowered.

Karen Imburgia Sheairs

I concur with everyone here. Get the mammogram. Early detection is your best bet. I lost my sister at the age of 39. She was never instructed to get a mammogram. She was waiting until she turned 40. She never made it. It 3 months she was gone. I now get 2 mammograms a year. The pain of them smashing your boob out ways early detection!

Jessica M Olson

I found my lump at 26 but they brushed me off due to being "too young". I went back to the dr six weeks alter because the lump was getting bigger. By that time it had spread to my chest and armpit and i was stage 3 at only 27 years old. I would be dead if i would have listened to them and came back in 6 months to be rechecked.

Cindy Simon Smith

although mammograms are a great screening tool (i'm a doctor and i recommend them all the time), they are not 100% accurate. i had a negative mammo and 6 months later found a lump. went back for another mammo and sonogram. the radiologist said that if i hadn't told him there was a mass, he would have read the 2nd mammo as normal also! i had invasive lobular carcinoma, which does not show up well on mammography

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